We won't leave Gauteng till we get paid - Northern Cape mineworkers

2016-09-12 19:13
Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane. (Lerato Sejake, News24)

Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane. (Lerato Sejake, News24)

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Johannesburg - A group of disgruntled mineworkers who travelled from Kuruman to Centurion have vowed to stay at their employer's headquarters until their salaries have been paid.

The mineworkers, who have been staging their protest since last week Tuesday, claim the directors of Diro Resources have failed to pay them their salaries since April.

"From Tuesday we've been demanding our salaries from our directors but they ran away," said Lesego Seleke, who is one the 36 protesters who travelled the 530km to Gauteng by taxi.

Last week, a group of mineworkers took the company's chief financial officer hostage but released him following an agreement for all directors to meet with them over their demands.

Seleke said they have since been told that the company was under business rescue and that they would be compensated once the process had been completed, but that on Friday, when a potential investor offered to pay for their salaries the directors rejected the offer. The mineworker said their bosses have not pitched for work at their Centurion offices the entire week.

"These people have run away from us, we know they have been deducting money for UIF [Unemployment Insurance Fund], medical aid and retirement yet that money doesn't appear with the relevant institutions. They are crooks, used us and left, now nowhere to be found," Seleke told News24.

"We've just been living in hope; our children no longer go to school because we can't afford it. Last week a colleague's child died we couldn't even contribute to the funeral."

Nine women are also taking part in the protest.

EFF lending a hand

The group has the support of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in the Northern Cape, which says it's also been struggling to get in touch with the directors of Diro Resources.

"The reality is that those workers are angry; the company has not been paying them for some months now. We support their decision to go and demand their salaries," said NUM regional co-ordinator Lucas Phiri.

He also claimed their attempts to assist have not been successful because the employers are nowhere to be found.

"We are also looking for the employers; if you find them please tell them NUM also wants to talk to them."

An Economic Freedom Fighters branch in Centurion has become involved in the matter. The party says the workers approached it asking for help.

"We felt they couldn't be left on their own without any support. So we've decided to help in whichever way possible; make sure they get food and help with trying gather more information regarding their situation," said EFF Tshwane south convenor Lephoho Thato Motloung.

Several attempts to contact Diro Resources by phone and by text message were unsuccessful at the time of publishing.

Read more on:    labour action  |  mining

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